tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS September 18, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> pelley: tonight, the president and governor romney react to that tape that has >> pelley: tonight, the president and governor romney react to that tape that has shaken up the race. >> pelley: what did romney mean in a speech at a fund-raiser? jan crawford, bob schieffer and anthony mason report. this could be one solution to the drought. but jim axelrod tells us funding for it has dried up. could jesus have been married? a scholar says an ancient scrap of papyrus may hold a clue. and to this 15-year-old, the great recession looks like opportunity. >> i'm trying to get as many houses as i can while the market is low. >> pelley: anna werner with a future mogul. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
>> pelley: good evening. with 49 days to election day, a candidate for president doesn't want a distraction from his message but it's happened in a big way to mitt romney. today, opponents and supporters parsed and examined in minute detail secretly recorded comments governor romney made about four months ago. it was during a private fund- raiser in a private home. romney was explaining why he believes that nearly half of the country would always be on the side of president obama. >> pelley: the video was recorded on may 17. it was obtained by the liberal magazine "mother jones." "mother jones" distributed it yesterday along with a press release. later in the tape, governor romney characterized the americans who pay no federal income taxes.
>> pelley: his figure was correct, but there is controversy about how he described the 47% as dependent and not taking personal responsibility. the governor responded today and here's jan crawford. jan? >> reporter: well, scott, romney is making it clear he is not backing away from those comments. in fact, he is using them to draw a sharp contrast between his views on government and what he says are the president's. >> this is a message i'm carrying day in and day out and will carry over the coming months, which is this is a decision about the course of
america and where we're going to head. >> reporter: in an interview this afternoon on fox news, romney stood his ground, using his remarks about dependence on government to hit the president for high unemployment and growing numbers on food stamps. >> but the intent that i want to talk about and that that was intended to speak about was the fact that you have a great divide about whether we want a government that's larger and more intrusive and redistributing income or whether instead you want a government that sees its real as protecting freedom and opportunity and letting free people build more wealth for all people. >> reporter: romney was less forceful last night in a hastily arranged news conference hours after the tape became public. >> it's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. i'm speaking off the cuff to a response to a question and i'm sure i could state it more clearly in a more effective way than i did in a setting like that. >> reporter: he said he was making a point that people who don't pay income tax aren't likely to be attracted to his message of lower taxes. some republican commentators today were critical since romney
will need support from people in that 47%, such as senior citizens, to beat president obama. the weekly standard's bill kristol called the comments arrogant and stupid but most republicans stood by romney, including former presidential candidate john mccain who is campaigning for him today in florida. >> i think people know mitt romney well enough to know that he is fighting and struggling for the vote of every registered voter in america, especially here in florida. >> reporter: john mccain says the episode shows candidates have to realize everything can be recorded. president obama stirred controversy four years ago when he was caught on tape at a fund- raiser saying this about resentment among small town voters in pennsylvania in the midwest.
>> reporter: now, this is supposed to be the week romney is refocusing on jobs and the economy with some new polls now showing this race back to a dead heat. but, scott, this is yet another distraction as the campaign is trying to build momentum. >> pelley: thanks, jan. mr. obama talked about the tape today during an interview with david letterman which will be broadcast tonight. >> one of the things i've learned as president is you represent the entire country and when i meet republicans as i'm traveling around the country, they are hardworking family people who care deeply about this country and my expectation is that if you want to be president you've got to work for everybody, not just for some. >> pelley: the tape made us wonder who the 47% are who don't pay federal income taxes. anthony mason has been digging into that. >> reporter: when governor romney says 47% of americans pay no federal income tax, is he on
the money? >> well, it's roughly accurate. we say last year 46% of americans paid no income tax. so governor romney's just about right. >> reporter: roberton williams with the nonpartisan tax policy center says to be precise 46.4% of americans pay no federal tax. but it's more complicated than that. >> 60% of them are working and pay federal payroll taxes, the taxes that support social security and medicare so they're not deadbeats not on the tax roll at all. >> reporter: many of those not paying federal tax are poor. more than half have annual incomes of less than $16,812. more than 80% have incomes under $33,542. and many-- about a quarter-- are also elderly and rely on social security. at the fund-raising dinner, governor romney described a group of americans addicted to government handouts.
>> reporter: in fact, nearly half of all americans-- 49%-- now receive some form of government benefits such as social security, food stamps, unemployment, medicare, or medicaid. in north carolina, 63-year-old betty russell recently retired from a medical devices company and is counting on medicare. >> so i don't live off the system. will i take medicare when i'm 65? i will. i've depended on it as part of my strategy from the get-go. >> reporter: while the number of americans not paying federal income taxes has been rising over the past 25 years, the tax policy center now expects it to fall as the economy recovers from recession. the center forecast that less than 40% of americans will be paying no federal taxes by the end of the decade. >> pelley: anthony, thanks very much. bob schieffer is our chief washington correspondent and the anchor of "face the nation." bob, what do you make of mr. romney's comments?
>> scott, i tell you, for a candidate who has fought the perception from the very beginning he's just a rich guy who doesn't understand the average folks, i cannot imagine what he could have said that would have hurt his cause more. as the very republican bill kristol, editor of the very republican "weekly standard" and conservative columnist in david brooks have pointed out today, the 47% of the people who pay no federal income tax are not all moochers, not by a long shot. many are traditional republican supporters-- old people living on social security, retired members of the military as well as poor families who, once they are docked for payroll, state, and local taxes, just don't make enough money to owe federal taxes. when romney says he can't worry about these people because he'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility for their lives, you have to wonder if he actually knew who he was talking to. maybe he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but whatever he
meant, writing off half the electorate is just not smart politics. >> pelley: bob, thank you. on another controversial issue, illegal immigration, today a federal judge gave arizona the go-ahead to enforce a key provision of the state's new immigration law. it requires police officers to check the status of someone that they stop if they have reason to believe that person could be an illegal immigrant. more court challenges are expected. we got a remarkable story today from our correspondent covering the syrian civil war. that war began, as you know, as a popular uprising a year and a half ago against the 42-year-old dictatorship of the assad family and it's estimated now that 20,000 syrians have been killed and untold numbers of families are fleeing. holly williams has reached one of the refugee camps just across the border in turkey. >> reporter: this camp is a
refuge from fighting and from fear. conditions are basic, but the 8,000 syrians who live here know they've left the violence behind them. more than half of the refugees are children. inside this tent we found mohammed, essam, and three-year- old abdulrahman. they're alone here, they told us. two months ago their mother and father were killed in aleppo by government soldiers who ambushed the mini bus they were traveling in. "i saw the driver's jaw shot off" said essam. "and another man's hands blown away by a grenade." he told us his mother was killed by a bullet to the head. as abdulrahman sat in her lap. at ten years old, not all of essam's wounds are physical. mohammed, who's 11, was hit by shrapnel, and abdulrahman has a steel rod in his leg after the bone was shattered in the
attack. the boys are now being cared for by friends and relatives, some of them children themselves. >> one, two, three, four. >> reporter: the turkish government is building new camps as fast as they can and moving refugees into them even before they're finished. the families that flee here to turkey find safety but very little hope. with no end in sight to syria's civil war, their children are learning to call a refugee camp home. they bring their memories of the war with them the. a conflict that's force misdemeanor to grow up too quickly. as we visited with this group, one boy began singing a song. "we can't wait forever" go the words. "president bashar al-assad must leave." soon the others joined him. "why did this child have to die," they sang. "please tell the army to go away." no matter how this war ends and no matter who wins, syria and
its children will be left with deep scars. holly williams, cbs news, on the turkey/syria border. >> pelley: no end to the war in afghanistan, either. today 12 people were killed in a suicide attack in the capital. a young woman rammed a car bomb into a mini bus carrying airline employees who work for the u.s. government. eight of the dead were south african. no americans were involved. a militant group said that it was revenge for that american- made film that ridicules islam which has caused riots all over the middle east. that was also the reason for last friday's assault on a nato base. and today we learned the names of two marines who were killed. sergeant bradley atwell and lieutenant colonel christopher raible, the commanding officer of a harrier squadron. the teacher strike in chicago is over. in the middle of a record drought. they have enough water they just can't get it to the crops.
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their strike. that means the city's 350,000 public school students will head back to class tomorrow. rank-and-file union members still have to approve the new three-year contract. the teacher strike began last week and was the first in chicago in 25 years. storms are sweeping across the east tonight, far from where the rain is needed most. a record drought is gripping the heartland and jim axelrod has been following it along the arkansas river. turns out at the end of the line there's plenty of water, it's just not in the right place. >> reporter: arkansas is not like the other drought-stricken states the arkansas river cuts through. just ask gene sullivan. that's a lot of water here. >> absolutely. this is a big river now. >> reporter: sullivan manages the water supply in central arkansas. we're in a situation where the water's here and agriculture's there and it's just simple matter of getting the water from the river into the basin.
but it's expensive. >> reporter: there's no question it's needed. the soybean plant on the left is dependent on rain for water. the one on the right comes from a field fed by ground wells. two decades ago, anticipating the groundwater wouldn't last forever, sullivan and local farmers planned to build a pumping station to suck water out of the arkansas and get it to their fields. an $80 million idea so badly needed the farmers taxed themselves to raise money. the station is now almost ready to pump 800,000 gallons a minute. but it will cost another $40 million to dig the irrigation trenches to get the water to the farms. if you don't get $40 million, what happens to this? >> well, it will be mothballed. >> reporter: sullivan was counting on congressional funding in the form of an earmark-- an appropriation for a specific project that's come to
be short hand for government waste. the money to complete the project is attached to legislation that's been stuck in congress for nearly three years. >> earmarking turned out to be a very bad word and we're in a moratorium as far as that goes and most people think we won't be back in the earmarking business. >> reporter: so 260,000 acres of rice, soybeans, and corn will continue to rely on depleted ground wells and rain in the middle of the worst drought in arkansas in a generation. >> i've never seen a project that had the benefits that were really needed where it was just a common sense thing to do that didn't get built. >> reporter: the way sullivan sees it, common sense may be the only thing harder to find around here than rain. jim axelrod, cbs news, scott, arkansas. >> pelley: he revolutionized pro-football without ever suiting up. his story just ahead. ahead.
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>> pelley: a scrap of papyrus has reignited one of the oldest debates in christianity. the discovery was made public in rome today by dr. karen king, a harvard professor. the papyrus dates back to the fourth century. the text is in the coptic language, one line says "jesus said to them my wife" but that's where the papyrus end. there's another quote that says "she can be my disciple."
professor king says this doesn't prove that jesus had a wife but only that early christians debated whether he did. it's not clear who wrote the words on the papyrus some 300 years after jesus died, but professor king says colleagues who examined it believe it is authentic. a pioneer who helped turn pro football into america's number- one spectator sport died today of brain cancer. you may not recognize the name steve sabol but if you're a football fan you know his work. steve sabol started n.f.l. films with his father ed in 1964. they were innovators, using superslow motion, sticking microphones on coaches and players. >> that's horrible! i could get some girl to do that! >> reporter: they hired orchestra leader sam spence to compose the sound track and john facenda, the narrator, known as the voice of god. >> the autumn wind is a pirate,
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>> pelley: a report out today >> a report out today says that america's homeowners are more optimistic about a turnaround in housing market than at any time since the bull outburst. there is a 15 year-old girl in florida that is betting on a turnaround and and a werner has her story. >> willow may look like a typical teenager and dress like one, and act like one, but growing up during the foreclosure crisis gave her the opportunity to become something else also. >> i bought my first house and i buy my second house soon. >> you are a landlord? >> yes. >> she is likely the youngest landlord in florida, taking her cues from a realtor mother that buys cheap bank owned homes. >> i would look at these houses with my mother and there was one that was filled with a whole lot of furniture that was nice, and i said " i could sell the stuff
". so that is how it started. >> she eventually made $6,000 by selling furniture, which used to help her purchase this $12,000 home. she will soon close on her second house, this one, it cost $17,000. >> i'm trying to get as many houses as i can well the market is low. i want to have around 10 houses by the time i'm 18. >> 10? >> yes, i want to get to every year. >> today she spends her spare time selling items from brussels and charities, even streakers. >> i just try and save every penny that i can to invest in more houses. >> as a minor, she cannot legally be on the deed but when she turns 18, her mother will sign the properties over to her. >> i said " lead the way, show me where you need to go, and she
has. >> not bad for a child with adhd that left her school because teachers told her mother that her daughter could not focus. >> it is hard to listen to people say " your kid has a problem ". and then, now look at her. i guess i'm really proud of her. >> less these days she is busy collecting rent from tenants, shopping for building materials, and taking stock of her next project. all from a girl that is too young to drive, but has plenty of direction. cbs news, florida. >> and that is the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news, all around the world, good night. >> good evening i am alan martin >> i am dana king, her job is to defend this city of oakland in lawsuits but right now the city
attorney's campaign is busy defending her. >> it all has to do with some emails that just went out. joe vasquez explains that it was not so much what they said, but who receive them. >> this is a story about that flood of mail and emails that we all get, during campaign season. they are all begging for campaign cash, but how far is too far? when a city can did it sent an e-mail to city employees requesting donations, some believe that it is illegal and unethical. alex disagrees. >> this happens with a lot of candidates, and probably every city in the country. >> is candidate who is running for reelection to the city attorney's office sent campaign emails to city employees. but he said it was an accident in that state law allows for such mistakes when they're part of a mass mailing or communication. >> at the beginning of the campaign they try to remove every sinci